Sunday, April 27, 2008

Crafting my own Photography Supplies

I'm crafty. Not just crafty, like "I glue things together" crafty, but like "making something new and useful out of something old." This isn't much of a surprise to anyone who has read the blog before, but sometimes I even surprise myself. Yesterday, I did just that.

I knew I would be taking photographs in the direct sunlight, and as someone who actually studied photography (you aren't a photographer just because you take pictures, dammit), I know how bad direct sunlight looks. There were two options: find good shade or move indoors, or buy a reflector. A good reflector can cost upwards of $75 at a photography supply store. Even the cheapest ones aren't less than $50, which is waaaaaay out of my price range. Solution: make one!

What reflects light? Shiny stuff, duh. But most shiny stuff is expensive (I'm a girl, I know these things). I needed a big sheet of shiny stuff. Like a drip pan you'd put under a car (I'm a girl who knows about drip pans...). But not as expensive. Um.... like... one of those fold-up foil sun shades you put in a car. It is supposed to reflect light, right? Except they don't do a very good job for my needs. What to do...? I also needed a stiff, flat object, too. And lightweight, so it wouldn't be heavy if I had to hold it for a long time. What's stiff and lightweight and flat?

After careful deliberation, I selected the only remnant of foam-core board I had lying around. It happened to be approximately twenty inches on each side. Then I grabbed my roll of handy-dandy aluminum foil (it's tin foil that doesn't contain tin, so what?). I applied this wonderful stuff called 'spray adhesive' all over one side of the board and let it sit for a couple minutes while I tore off two strips of foil. In a fit of incredibly slow movements, I applied the foil and smoothly as possible to the sticky board. Each piece covered half of the board. Next, I trimmed the foil to the edges. But the edges didn't stay stuck down very well, and I had a weird seam in the middle. There was only one solution: shiny, sticky stuff. DUCT TAPE. I cut strips into thirds and trimmed the edges and seam.

You can get duct tape and tin aluminum foil at the dollar store, and foam-core board is only a few cents more at any craft/hobby store (or even Bi-Mart, Fred Meyer, etc.). Total cost: FREE if you have these things lying around, less than $5 if you don't.

Some reflectors are gold. Some are white. Some are multiple colors. Any foam-core board can be easily spray-painted with gold or silver spraypaint for exactly the same effect (but they don't use duct tape, so they clearly aren't as cool). Total cost there isn't much more. Bonus points for spraypainting or foiling over a board you previously used for homework. ;)

Another thing I might try is crumpling (scrunching, wadding, wrinkling, etc.) the foil before trying to glue it to the board. That might give another effect. Or, what happens if you just use duct tape? What about a few pieces of foil on the board with other colors or just white in the gaps? Must test these ideas...

1 comment:

Michael said...

Totally digging up an old post here, but had a cool idea:

-for a reflector that's pre-made, take a stop by Autozone or somewhere for a car window shade. Doubles as something you can use for the car, too.
-You may also want a white/translucent reflector, you can do the same thing. Take a look at a company called Auto Expressions, they have a product called a 'Magic Sunshade'. I think they sell for about $7.50 on Amazon, they are 25"x28", and you get TWO! To me, these look and feel just like a pro equivalent without paying $30 or better for only one.